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Historical and Cultural Diversity

Similarly, mapping of historic and cultural regions can provide a basis for assessing the extent to which the America's Byways® collection represents the nation's diversity with respect to the people-based intrinsic qualities (archeological, cultural, and historic). These qualities are defined not only in space, but also—and especially—in time, historic periods, and movements move across the landscape, and are often expressed differently from one place and time to another. As a result, there are many ways to describe the range of historic periods, movements, and themes in the United States, and any single map will only tell a small part of this complex story.

Map 3 is one depiction of the cultural diversity of the nation and of how well the America's Byways® collection represents this diversity. The map shows the nationally designated routes on a generalized map of surviving folk cultures. Again, the map includes byways that were designated for land-based as well as people-based qualities, and it cannot be assumed that every byway tells the "people" stories of the folk-culture region through which it passes. Nevertheless, the map suggests that the byway collection provides travelers with opportunities to access most of the nation's surviving folk cultures. The major exception is the Plains Ranch culture, which, in addition to the Great Plains, appears in the Great Basin, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and portions of the desert Southwest. To some degree, these cultural regions reflect landforms and ecological regions, and thus the pieces of the environmental mosaic that are missing from the collection are echoed in gaps in the cultural mosaic.

Map 3 : America's Byways® and Surviving Folk Cultures of the United States
Designated byways overlaid on a map of 13 'surviving folk cultures' of the United States. Several major expanses of the nation (Florida, the Great Lakes, the Great Plains, and California and Nevada) are not shown as having concentrations of surviving folk cultures.
Base map delineation of folk culture areas by Jon T. Kilpinen, Valparaiso University (;
Byway overlays by Multimedia Data Services Corporation

Updated: 10/19/2015
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